An Introduction to Partying in Europe

Sensation White Electronic Music Event

Europe is a very popular destination for travellers of all ages. While most people you encounter won’t be the rough-backpacker types you meet in South America or South East Asia, a large percentage are there solely for the partying.  The high cost of European cities can make backpacking through the entire continent somewhat of a challenge, but you can definitely still visit several cities on a tight budget – use RyanAir, EasyJet and Wizz Air to fly whenever you have to, buy your meals from grocery stores, and spend a lot of time in Eastern Europe, where everything is much cheaper (it is very common to visit Prague, Budapest and Krakow, for example) .  Also pre-drink as much as possible before going out to the bars/clubs at night.

Common Routes
Unlike South America and South East Asia, there isn’t a trail that every traveller follows around Europe.  Your trip will require a lot of planning beforehand so that you pay less for transportation and get into the best hostels.  For ratings and reviews on the best (and worst) European party cities, click on “Europe” under “Categories” on the right side of this blog and then find the cities you are interested in (you can use Control-F) or read them and then decide!

Staying in the best party hostels is absolutely crucial in Europe (unlike South East Asia, for example).  This can make or break your experience in every city, since the majority of people you meet will be from the hostel and you will most likely meet them at the hostel’s organized events.  Keep in mind that most hostels in Europe won’t allow any non-guests in the building, so it is better to get to befriend the people staying there.  Hostels in major cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam and Greece get booked up months in advance, so make sure you plan your trip early in the year.  I recommend certain hostels in all of my posts, so be sure to check these out before you book.

Pub Crawls
Most partiers travelling through Europe will go on pub crawls in almost every city and you will notice I often recommend them in posts.  Since most cities in Europe often seem complex at first, going on a pub crawl will introduce you to the best nightlife areas, while allowing you to meet tons of other ragers.  In major cities, you will be approached by several competing pub crawl leaders on the street.  Ask them how many people they usually attract each night (the more the merrier), whether they serve free hard liquor at the pre-party (a lot of times it is just beer and wine), and whether you get free cover to the final destination which is usually a big club.

Europe is a major hub for all types of music, especially electronic.  You will not find as many amazing clubs as Europe anywhere in the world, so make sure you explore them every single night of your trip.  The best cities for electronic music are Barcelona, Amsterdam, London and Berlin.  Ibiza is a must as well, although it is very expensive.  Croatia and the Greek islands are also becoming major EDM hubs.  You can catch a lot of rock/pop concerts in the major cities as well – just check local concert listings (I saw some awesome rock concerts at Paradiso in Amsterdam, for example).  Europe is also home to some serious music festivals, including Glastonbury (England), Tomorrowland (Belgium), Ultra (Croatia), and Amsterdam Dance Event (Netherlands).  Most of these take place during the summer, but keep your eye out for some smaller festivals if you are in Europe during the other seasons (I went to an awesome festival in Budapest, called Bonusz, in October, for example).  Try to go to a Sensation event (see picture above)!

For more underground and techno/deep house events, check out Resident Advisor for each city you hit.

During the Day
If you are not sleeping or drinking at a pub the entire day, go on a free walking tour.  Most cities offer these, so ask your hostel where they meet every day.  They are free but you are expected to give the guide a tip at the end.  I recommend these in my posts, mostly because they are a great way of meeting travellers your own age and because you can ask the guides where to party each night.

Other days you will probably be pressured into visiting museums and the other popular tourist sites to check them off of your bucket list.  During the summer, cities like Ios, Lagos and Ibiza are awesome because you can party (or relax) on the beach all day without feeling bad about missing tourist attractions (although that is really what South East Asia and Central America are for!).